Definition #97 Crane

sandhill cranes

sandhill cranes

hooked neck: pointed toes:

stretched to infinity’s edge

balanced flight: clean breath!

Watching Sandhill Cranes

by William Stafford

Spirits among us have departed—friends,
relatives, neighbors: we can’t find them.
If we search and call, the sky merely waits.
Then some day here come the cranes
planing in from cloud or mist—sharp,
lonely spears, awkwardly graceful.
They reach for the land; they stalk
the ploughed fields, not letting us near,
not quite our own, not quite the world’s.

People go by and pull over to watch. They
peer and point and wonder. It is because
these travelers, these far wanderers,
plane down and yearn in a reaching
flight. They extend our life,
piercing through space to reappear
quietly, undeniably, where we are.

“Watching Sandhill Cranes” by William Stafford, from Even In Quiet Places. © Confluence Press, 1996. Reprinted with permission of the author.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Catherine Johnson
    Jan 17, 2015 @ 12:22:41

    Both are lovely!


  2. joyacey
    Jan 17, 2015 @ 15:22:17

    The surprise ending to your poem has me savoring the moment. It makes me read, and then re-read it. Excellent work.


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